By Dave Hensley
For many students, passing the FAA written test is a major nail biter! Jitters over the prospect of failing a multiple choice test cause some students to postpone or delay the test and what should be a relatively easy step ends up being a stumbling point and source of frustration. Passing the written test is a necessary part of the pilot certification process but unfortunately, many of us do not use successful preparation strategies. Use this rehearsal tip to boost your score and reduce anxiety. Practice like you test!
The best way to get rid of “classic” test anxiety is to be prepared. That means taking the time to complete a reasonable study plan using a methodical approach. An all night cram session is definitely not a good idea because retention suffers when you don’t allow enough time to consolidate new information. Likewise, when developing a study plan for a written, more frequent or “distributed” sessions are more effective than “massed” periods. Shorter periods with frequent breaks are better than extended sessions accomplished less frequently. We all have friends who seem to breeze through tests with very little preparation. Unfortunately, most of us need enough time to thoroughly review the training material and study. Another way to boost your performance is to practice in a place and way that you expect to encounter on test day. Taking practice tests over the same material is great. Doing this type of practice in a place that is similar to the actual test center is even better. There are several very good commercial test books available that both organize the content and provide sample tests for rehearsal. Making up your own tests will give you added confidence. As a nice gesture, the FAA provides access to some of the test question data bases that the actual written tests draw upon. A quick visit to www.faa.gov and a few mouse clicks will take you to the specific test banks. The commercial test guides offer the advantage of narrowing the question field and organizing the material in a more logical sequence. If you prefer to do it yourself, use your computer to access the test banks and cut and paste your own practice test. This will allow you to practice using the actual questions you will see again on test day.
Testing is a part of certification. Very few enjoyed being tested but taking multiple choice tests definitely does not have to be stress event it seems to be. Take the time to prepare and practice like the real test. Your FAA written should be a breeze.